Key parties involved in the annual Oscars telecast are open to the return of Kevin Hart as host, one insider close to the event told Variety, following an alternately contrite and defiant appearance on “The Ellen Show” on Thursday.
Leadership at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC, the network that broadcasts the telecast, are open to Hart resuming his role as emcee if he signals that he wants the job. That message could come through a spokesperson or on social media, where Hart maintains an active presence on Instagram and Twitter, the individual added.
The about face is extraordinary because Hart’s appointment as host stirred up so much controversy. Past homophobic jokes that Hart had made resurfaced on Twitter and other social media platforms within hours of the announcement that he would emcee the broadcast. The comic was initially dismissive, saying he had previously addressed those remarks. He later offered a more full-throated apology after announcing he was declining the Academy’s offer. In the ensuing weeks, Oscar producers have struggled to find a replacement.
The Academy hoped Hart would have a meaningful conversation about his past tweets in the aftermath of his December exit, another insider close to the show’s well-documented troubles said. It’s unclear if Hart’s apologies on “Ellen” were sufficient, and if he demonstrated an understanding of the effect of his old tweets. While Hart still sits atop a wish list of marquee hosts within the Academy, show producer Donna Gigliotti and her team have been working “non-stop” on living without him, the insider said. This includes options like a cameo-heavy, hostless show, which Variety exclusively reported last month.
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